Visit the Exhibition

Sublime Symmetry is currently on display at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery in Bournemouth until 2nd February 2020

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum
East Cliff Promenade
Bournemouth
BH1 3AA

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Opening hours

Open 10am – 5pm daily

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Russell-Cotes Art Gallery Website

About the Exhibition

Symmetry is synonymous with beauty in art. William De Morgan used this, and many other mathematical devices in his ceramic designs to ensure that his elaborate and humourous patterns had clear structure and were aesthetically pleasing.

Mathematics was at the core of William’s artwork. He once stated that Euclid’s Book I, an ancient text on linear geometry, was ‘the most enchanting novel in literature. His father, Augustus De Morgan, was a leading mathematician of the Victorian period and this inspired William to create sublime symmetry, pattern and shape in all of his designs.

The exhibition features 80 ceramics and explores the geometrical underpinning of each to demonstrate William’s consideration of the form of his pieces and how he adapted his Islamic-inspired floral motifs to cover the surface of his pieces.

Games for little ones and a family trail are available to lead budding mathematicians – young and old – around the symmetry, shape and ceramics on display.

Listen to the Exhibition

You can access the audio guide for the exhibition through the Sound Cloud website or via the widget here.

Education Programme

The exhibition is supported by an education programme and a resource pack which can be used in the classroom to support a trip to the exhibition or as a stand-alone resource for teaching mathematics at KS2.

Packed with lesson plans and worksheets to inspire pupils to see mathematics in the beautiful artwork.

Sublime Symmetry began as a co-curation project between the De Morgan Foundation and primary school teachers and pupils to discover how best they might like to use the ceramics for learning and teaching. The exhibition is divided into three parts; pattern, shape and symmetry, which are all key elements in the National Curriculum for KS2 mathematics.

Borrow the Exhibition

Sublime Symmetry is a touring exhibition, available for museums and art galleries to borrow for four to six months.

The exhibition includes:

  • The loan of 76 ceramic objects and 6 items of archival material including drawings by William De Morgan’s father, the celebrated mathematician Augustus De Morgan, and William De Morgan’s unpublished biography written by Lord Leighton’s celebrated biographer, Mrs Russell Barrington.
  • Hard copies of the exhibition catalogue, highly acclaimed in a review written featured in the PreRaphaelite Society Journal
  • Digital education pack which introduces the mathematical devices in De Morgan’s work to KS2 school children
  • Hard copies of the family ‘trumps’ card game
  • Children’s sliding tile puzzles
  • A press release and selection of images cleared for marketing and publicity use
  • Text panel and object label text
  • Curation and project management by the De Morgan Foundation
  • A curator talk event for visitors

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